London: The parleys over stitching up a
coalition in Britain could be jeopardised by the leak of a top
secret letter, outlining the hardline Euro-sceptic stance the
Tories planned to adopt if elected, reflecting the wide schism
between them and the Liberal Democrats.
The document, obtained by the Observer, is headed "draft
letter from Foreign Secretary to Prime Minister" and was
written last week by shadow foreign secretary William Hague to
Conservatives Prime Ministerial candidate David Cameron.
It deals with the issue of Britain`s approach to Europe,
that is one of the two main issues of difference between the
Cameron-led Tories and the Lieberal Democrats led by Nick
Clegg, a strong pro-European.
The letter appears to have been written assuming a Tory
victory in the May 6 general election, in the event of which
Hague would have been the Foreign Secretary and Britain`s
representative at the EU meeting of foreign ministers.
It spelt out how Hague intended to adopt a tough approach
to Europe at the meeting in Brussels tomorrow.
The Guardian said Cameron`s hopes of forming a coalition
with the Lib Dems were dramatically undermined by the leak.
In the letter, compiled by civil servants but written in
the first person, Hague tells Cameron how his message would be
that "the British relationship with the EU has changed with
our election" to one firmly against any further integration.
Exposing the massive gulf between Liberal Democrat leader
Clegg and the Conservative leadership on Europe, Hague says he
would demand the right to repatriate powers over criminal
justice as well as social and employment policy during the
first term of a Tory government - demands many EU leaders say
they would resist.
The document came to light as negotiations are on between
the two parties over formation of a coalition government and
election reform and Europe, among others, have emerged as the
main issues of difference.
Clegg also met his MPs and senior party figures yesterday
to discuss a possible coalition with the Tories.